The Disappearance of Sri Chaitanyadev

(Translated from the original Bengali article which appeared in The Harmonist Dol Purnima 2003 issue)    

By Om Vishnupada 108 Paramhansa Parivrajakacharya Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravana Tirtha Goswami Maharaj


What is death? When the soul leaves the physical body, we call it death. Parabrahma or God and any of His forms have no ‘death’. Hence, when such divine souls depart the material world their ‘bodies’ are not left behind because, simply put, there is nothing to leave behind.

This is what Shruti means by the word “Bimrityu”.  But there is more to it. The sentient jivas (souls) on the earthly plane are the exact opposite of divinity (God). The bodies of worldly beings are likened to a “jar”, that is, composed of the five elements of nature and therefore, mortal. Mortal things are bound to decompose and eventually perish.  For this reason mortal beings suffer from different types of diseases. And because, the souls of the sensory worldly beings suffer according to their karma, when the targeted work is done by the body, the soul no longer needs it. Then the soul immediately discards the body and enters another body for the further working out of residual karmas.  The jivas or individual spirit-souls are part-and-parcel of divinity whereas the mortal bodies are sensory entities. Thus in ordinary living beings, the soul (conscious living being,) is different from the body.

But in God, there is no difference between the body and conscious living being. God is divine. He is the Body and the Body is Him. The living beings have spirit-souls but God is Supreme Spirit. His soul is also His body. He is the embodiment of Absolute Bliss - the divine bliss of eternal consciousness. His body too is of eternal blissful consciousness. So Shruti refers to Him by such names as—Anandaghan, Gyanghan, Chitghan (whose consciousness is always blissful).

Elsewhere it is said that unlike mortal beings, He has no birth. Hence Shruti has called Him—Ajaa (one who is not born). When God, by the power of divinity appears by and takes the form of a human being we say that He has been ‘born’. When His purpose of appearing in the material universe is fulfilled He disappears. Or we say He disappears from the mortal eyes. Since He has no body other than Him, so His body is Him and He is the body. His disappearance means the disappearance of His body. As such after His disappearance His body is not left in the world.

Lord Krishna appeared in Dwaapar yuga and after the “Mousal leela”), He disappeared.  His disappearance is described in Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnupuran and the Mahabharata. All these scriptures state that after Lord Krishna’s disappearance no body was found.

Now we come to the topic about the disappearance of Mahaprahu Shri Chaitanyadev. Sri Murari Gupta, Kavi Karnapur, Vrindavandas Thakur and Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami - none of them has described the disappearance of Shri Chaitanyadev. Among the biographers Lochan Das Thakur from Bengal has written something.  Lochan Das was one of the close associates of Mahaprabhu and Sri Narahari Sarkar Thakur’s favourite disciple. Lochan Das Thakur has written a book called “Shri Shri Chaitanya Mangal”. It is complete in three volumes. At the end of the last volume he has described the disappearance of Shri Chaitanyadev.

He has written: “In the month of Ashaad, on Saptami, the seventh tithi, (a Sunday) in the afternoon at Gunjabari (Gundicha Mandir), Shriman Mahaprabhu entered the sanctum of Shri Jagannath and embraced Him tightly and vanished from sight instantly.”

There were close associates like Srivas Pandit, Mukund Dutta, Shri Govind, Kashi Mishra, and others present at that moment. They all saw Prabhu entering the temple of Lord Jagannath and as he entered the doors of the temple closed. When Mahaprabhu did not come out after some time, they became anxious.

Then the Brahmin panda of Gunjabari came, and they requested him to open the doors of the sanctum . Afterwards, the panda told them, “Gujabarir madhye prabhur haila adarshan. Sakshate dekil goura prabhur Milan. Nishchaya kariya kahi suno sarvajan”. ( Shri Chaitanya Mangal) “The Lord is not inside Gunjabari. But I saw Gaur embracing Prabhu (Jagannath). I am sure about it.”

At the time, the King of Orissa Sri Prataprudra was in Neelachal, Puri. The devotees of the Lord were wailing. And, “Shri Prataprudra raja sunila sravane. Parivarsaha raja harila chetne”. [Shri Shri Chaitanya Mangal]. (The king Prataprudra heard the cry and all his family lost consciousness.) Gundicha Mandir has been referred to as Gunjabari. At the time of Rath Yatra Lord Jagannath stays in the Gundicha Mandir. Srivasadi Goudiya devotees used to go to Puri every year at the time of Rath Yatra to see their Lord Chaitanyadev.

From Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita we know that Mahaprabhu disappeared in the year 1455. Hence it is understood that in 1455, soon after the Rath Yatra, on the saptami tithi (the seventh day after the new moon night), Mahaprabhu disappeared. Ratha Yatra takes place on Ashaad’s  (July), second day of the new moon night. As such the gap between the two dates is small.

References to Sri Chaitanya’s disappearance can also be found in Oriya literature.  Shri Achuytananda, a contemporary and disciple of Mahaprabhu wrote the “Shunya Samhita” in Oriya. In this book he has written:

“Amonte ketehe din bahi gela sunima apurborose. Prataprudra rajan bije kone kolyratrotor pash.
Amonto samaye gourangchandrama bera pradikshin kori Deule pashile somagansange.
Hari-dhwaniye Deule Uchuloi srimukhdarshan range. Chaitnyathakur maha-nrityakar radha radha dhwani kole.

 Jagannathmahaprabhu sriangare bidyut pray mishi gele.”

From the above reference we learn that Shri Gourchandra alongwith other devotees encircled the temple premises and entered the sanctum of Lord Jagannath. He was dancing and singing “Radhe Radhe” and suddenly like a flash of lightning, disappeared into the deity of Lord Jagannath.

After Achuytananda another Oriya writer Shri Diwakar Das has written:

“amonte kohi shri chaitnya shri jagannath angelin.
Gopono hoile swadehe dekhi kehar drishti mohe.
Na dekhi Srichaitanyarup sarbomonore dukh tapo raj hoiley mone channa
he prabhu hele antardhan Purbe bahiru asithile leoti torhi prabeshile.”

which also depicts that Prabhu merged in the deity of Lord Jagannath and disappeared.

The author of “Shri Chaitanya Upadan” Dr. Biman Bihari Majumdar has written: –‘After Diwakar Das’s era, another poet named Ishwar Das said that “on the eve of third day of Baisakh (April) Sri Chaitanya was applying sandalwood paste on Lord Jagannath’s deity in front of King Prataprudra, when he suddenly disappeared into the deity.”(Chaitanya Bhagwat by Ishwar Das).

Here also we find reference to Mahaprabhu’s merging into the deity of Lord Jagannath. But Ishwar Das said that Mahaprabhu vanished on the third day of Baisakh (April)—which seems to be incorrect. Because, somewhere at the end of the Magha (January) of 1431 saka, Mahaprabhu took sansyas and at the end of Falgun (February) he went to Neelachal (Puri, Orissa). And at the beginning of Baisakh (April) in the year1432, (i.e. much before Rath Yatra) he left towards south India on a tour. After spending two years in the South, he returned to Neelachal Puri in Baisakh (April) of 1434.

On hearing the news of his return to Puri, his disciples from Bengal came to see him before the Rath Yatra. Then the Rath took place and before the Bengal devotees left, Mahaprabhu said –“Pratybdo asibe sabhe gundicha dekhibar,”

And“Prabhur agyanay bhaktogan pratybdo asiya gundicha dekhia jan prabhure miliye. Binshodi badsar oichhe kore gatagati”

“Next year all of you should come again to see Gundicha” As per the order of Prabhu the devotees came to see Gundicha and met Sri Chaitanya the following year.  This routine continued for 20 years. (Chaitanya Charita 2/1/43 and Chaitanya Charita 2/1/44-5.)

After he took sanyas Prabhu lived for 24 years. In those 24 years the devotees went to Puri 20 times. Four years they did not go. In Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita we find that those four years of their absence from Neelachal was because of:– 2 years when Prabhu was in southern part of India i.e. from 1432-1433. In 1436  Prabhu went to Gaud (Bengal).

In 1437 Saka, in the context of Rath Yatra Prabhu himself told the Gaudiya devotees: “Ei barsho niladri keho na koriho gaman”
“This year no one should come to Neelachal” (Chaitanya Charita 2/16/245) and none of the devotees went there.

The II chapter of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita stanzas 36 to 42, give the account of Prabhu, giving instructions through Shivananda’s nephew Shrikant Sena, that none of his devotees should come to Neelachal. This makes use understand that during 18 years of his Antya Leela one year his disciples did not go to Neelachal. So, it is presumed that four years in total his Gaudiya (Bengali) devotees did not go to Neelacha.l

During his 24 years of sanyas leela, we see that for 20 years they went to Neelachal.  But during those 24 years, every year Rath Yatra was held, otherwise it was not possible for the devotees to attend the Rath Yatra for 20 years. The first Rath Yatra after Prabhu’s sanyas was held in 1432. So, the 24th Rath Yatra must have been in 1455. In that year too, Gaudiya devotees must have gone on their annual visit to Neelachal, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible for them to gone there for 20 years.

Prabhu disappeared in 1455. Rath yatra is held in Ashaad (July). But if we assume that Prabhu’s disappearance occurred in Baisakh (April), and afterwards the Gaudiya devotees went to Neelachal in July for the Rath, that seems quite improbable, because they used to visit Neelachal chiefly to meet Prabhu and not so much to see the Rath Yatra. Hence during the absence of Prabhu for two years while he travelled south India, none of the devotees went to see Rath Yatra for 2 years. In Ashaad (July), of 1455, they participated in the Rath Yatra with Prabhu for the last time.

From this discourse we gather that in 1455 Prabhu was present at the time of Rath Yatra. Even otherwise, Prabhu’s disappearance in the Baisakh (April) of 1456, was not possible. Because, if he would have been living then he would have crossed the age of 48 years. But the biographers have stated that he disappeared at the age of 48 years. Practically, he was seen for 47 years and 4 months.

Kaviraj Goswami has stated this clearly: 
“Chouddyosato sat shake janmer praman.
Chouddyosato panchanne hoilo antardhan”

He was born in 1407 and disappeared in 1455. Only Saka samvat states his appearance for 48 years. After being a sanyasi Prabhu was alive for 23 years and some months. Kavi Karnapur also suggests this account.

Karnapur has written Mahaprabhu became a sanyasi at the age of 24 years and came to Srikshetra (Puri) and from there he travelled to other places for 3 years. For the rest 20 years he attended the Rath Yatra of Srikshetra (Puri):   

“Chaturbingshe tabat prakototi nijopremobibosho prakaman sannyason somokrito nabadwiptalato. Tribarshoncho krshetradapi tato eto jannagamayotha drishtwa jatra byonoydakhila bingshatisama.’’(Maha kavya 20/40).

Mahaprabhu travelled in southern India for complete 2 years. He stayed six months in Gaud (Bengal) and six months in Vrindavan. That is why Karnapur has said that he was outside Srikshetra for 3 years and roamed in other places. For 20 years he attended the Rath Yatra. If he had not attended the Rath Yatra of 1455, then it would not have been possible for him to attend the Rath Yatra for 20 years. Kavi Karnapur has also written that Mahaprabhu stayed outside Neelachal for few days and then came back to his devotees and made them happy with his presence. He also, alongwith few of his devotees, attended the Rath Yatra for 20 years and went back to his place

Karnapur’s account tells us that at Neelachal Mahaprabhu attended 20 Ratha Yatras for 20 years. Even earlier it is mentioned that the Rath Yatra of 1455 was the last one attended by Mahaprabhu and it was the 20th year.

But Karnapur had said that Prabhu lived for 47 years. Prabhu was born on the full moon day of Falgun (February) in 1407. Secondly, he had completed 48 years of age. So Kavi Karnapur would seem to imply that before the full moon day of Falgun (February) in 1456 and after the Rath Yatra of 1455 in the month of Ashaad (July) Prabhu left for his heavenly abode.

From the above discussion we can consider that whatever is written by the Oriya poet Shri Ishwar Das about the disappearance of Prabhu in the month of Baisakh (April), is not justified.

On the other hand, Shri Lochandas Thakur has suggested that the time of Prabhu’s disappearance is confirmed as it appears in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Mahakavya; so it can be believed as the truth. When Karnapur  was young, he used to go to Neelachal with his father to meet Prabhu at the time of Rath yatra. He finished the Mahakavya in 1464 saka, nine years after Prabhu’s disappearance. Lochandas was Prabhu’s close companion and Narhari Sarkar’s disciple. He heard many things about Prabhu from Narhari Sarkar. So from the description of these two men, we can easily accept the time of disappearance of Prabhu.

From the account of Shri Lochandas and two other Oriya poets, Achuytananda and Shri Ishwar Das, all of them say that Mahaprabhu disappeared in the deity of Lord Jagannath. Kavi Karnapur has written in his Mahakavya that Prabhu “went back to his own abode”. But how he went there is not described by him. Karnapur never thought of Sri Chaitanya as a physical human being, instead he thought of him as God incarnate. He has specified that Prabhu had his own abode where he went back to. Kavi Karnapur knew about the “bimrityu” (immortality) suggested by Shruti.

Therefore, it is understood that whatever Karnapur has said about Prabhu’s disappearance to his heavenly abode is correct. Whereas living beings leave their physical bodies behind, but after Prabhu’s disappearance nothing was left behind. Generally, it is said, after death, that people go to the heavenly abode, but it is never said that they have left for ‘their own’ place from where they have come.

Those people who do not believe in the fact that there are other things than what is seen or heard  would not believe in the disappearance of Mahaprabhu in Lord Jagannath’s deity. They think this to be supernatural. Since such supernatural things are not seen by the physical eyes, they do not believe in it. Most of the people in the world are doubtful about this.

Those who are theists believe that God is not physical nor are his activities physical. Lord Krishna himself has said in the Bhagavat Gita: 
“Janmo karmo ch mey divyam”. Divya-means Divine. God is beyond the physical phenomenon. His works are also ‘beyond natural’ - supernatural. Anything supernatural cannot be defined by material beings of the universe.

Our Shastras declare:  

“Achintya khalu je bhava na tanstakerno jogyet.
Prakritibhyo paran jattu tadchintasya lakshanam”

Sripad Shankaracharya many a times in his Brahmasutras has defined these meta-physical principles and accepted the truth in them. Inspite of this, the supra-mundane or supernatural principles are not believed by many men. Most of the people do not believe in the supernatural and so they do not believe in the disappearance of Mahaprabhu in the deity of Lord Jagannath. Many modern literary critics have contradicted the belief of Mahaprabhu’s disappearance and created wrong notions amongst ordinary people.

Not every critic has this opinion though. But for the entertainment of common people or for fear of being thrown out of the literary society they use this type of argument in their writings. A few of these opinions can be discussed in this context.

In Chaitanya Charita Upadan Dr. Shri Biman Bihari Majumdar has written: “At Gunjabari Shri Chaitanya’s disappearance in Lord Jagannath’s deity gives us an indication of some murderous plan. The Oriya Brahmins were against Shri Chaitanya. They were envious of him. It was perceived that because of Shri Chaitanya, Raja Prataprudra and Rai Ramananda neglected affairs of the state. Raja Krishnadeva Raya of Vijaynagar and Hussain Shah of Gaud (Bengal) repeatedly attacked Orissa and captured some parts of it. The Brahmins also lost their prestige because of Shri Chaitanya’s Oriya disciples Achuyta and Jaswant etc. Furthermore, there was a conflict of address between Lord Jagannath and Shri Chaitanya as to who will be called –“Mahaprabhu”; who is greater than whom and this conflict continued between Oriya and Gaudiya (Bengali) devotees. Because of this it is not surprising to see that in 1455 Shri Chaitanya, although he was ill, went alone to see Lord Jagannath on Ashaad (July) shukla saptami (seventh day from the new moon). There he went into a trance and lost consciousness. Taking advantage of his being alone and unconscious, some of the priests of Lord Jagannath murdered him and hid his dead body. And then they went to the King and spread the news that Shri Chaitanya had disappeared in the deity of Lord Jagannath. There is no evidence to support this account, but I have heard this from some of the well known literates of Oriya.”

Now let us examine Dr. Majumdar’s theory. Dr. Majumdar has written “some of the priests of Lord Jagannath had murdered Shri Chaitanya” This is his supposition but “there is no evidence to support this account”. Dr. Majumdar “heard this from some of the well known literates of Oriya”. Whatever he had heard from the few learned men of Oriya is also induction. Still Dr. Majumdar has written about his suspicion without any proof to support it.

Dr. Majumdar writes: “Oriya Brahmins were envious of Shri Chaitanya”. But he has not given any evidence to support this.  Whatever is recorded by the biographers of Shri Chaitanya is contradictory to what Dr. Majumdar states.

At the time, all the learned Brahmins of Orissa like Raja Pratap Rudra’s guru Sri Kashi Misra, the famous scholar Basudev Sarvabhauma, Pradyumna Misra, etc. were the names, who were great followers of Mahaprabhu. And they were the foremost Brahmins. None of the biographers has written that the Brahmins were envious of Shri Chaitanya.

“Because of the envy of a few of the Brahmins…”  Dr. Majumdar has written –“some of the disciples of Shri Chaitanya like Achyuta, Jaswant, etc. spoke against the Brahmins and hence, they felt insulted.” But the biographers have repeatedly testified that Shri Chaitanya Dev could not tolerate the least bit of insult to anybody, let alone Brahmins.

Once Sri Chaitanya was going to Gaya and to show how a Brahmin is to be respected, he pretended to be suffering from fever and drank the water that washed the feet of a Brahmin. He tirelessly preached—“always respect every living being as Lord Krishna resides in them”. Now from this account is it believable that he would brook any insult to Brahmins or tolerate words against them by his associates? And the disciples like Achuytanand, would they also preach such words?

Further, Dr. Majumdar writes, “Because of Shri Chaitanya, Raja Prataprudra and Ramananda Rai neglected the state affairs”. But it is recorded that two years after Mahaprabhu took sanyas and came to live in Puri, Rai Ramananda handed over his responsibilities as Governor and also came to live in Puri. So it cannot be said that he “neglected his state responsibilities.”

Is it fair to say that because of the negligence of state affairs Raja Pratap Rudra was defeated by Krishnadevrai and Hussain Shah and Orissa’s boundary was getting diminished? Where is the evidence that Pratap Rudra had not resisted the invaders? There is always victory and defeat in war. If anytime Pratap Rudra had been defeated, can it be said that it is because of Shri Chaitanya?

Dr. Majumdar has further written:— “There was a conflict as to who would be addressed as ‘Mahaprabhu’, whether Shri Chaitanya or Lord Jagannath. And among two of them who is greatest and that this issue led to a conflict between the Gaudiya (Bengali) and Oriya devotees.” To support this comment, he has taken a few lines from “Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya Drama” written by Kavi Karnapur. But even here, the lines before and after the quotations from Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya, do not justify the comment of Dr. Majumdar.

It states:-“Karnapur, in the 10th act of the drama, has written that one musician, who was the follower of Advaita Acharya and an outsider, heard a talk about Shivananda Sena, who every year took all the Gaudiya devotees with great love and care to Neelachal, even including the dogs that followed them. He has shown that Shivananda used to pay all the road taxes during the trip. In the name of Prabhu even the employees of Danghatari did not create any trouble. Just once, there was a little trouble. One year Raja Prataprudra went to South India. During his absence one of his generals and Gottopal’s adhikari went to Remuna, where the Gaudiya devotees were also present, while returning from Neelachal. That General increased the road taxes and everybody had to pay the taxes. But Shivananda could not pay the extra tax amount and was therefore, imprisoned. Later that night, the General asked his men to bring Shivananda . Shivananda with fear, came to see the General chanting the name of Shri Chaitanya.

The General asked him: “Oye twam swaparikaro somayatohsi tyan kosyo loko”“Have you come with your family?” Shivananda said “so what?” Then the General again asked “Whose man are you?” Shivananda replied “I am Krishna Chaitanya’s man.” Then the General said, “You are Chaitanya’s man and I am Jagannath’s man. Who is the greater of the two?” Shivananda replied, “to me Krishna Chaitanya is the greatest.” Then the General became happy and was ashamed and said, “I had a dream in which Krishna Chaitanya told me that “My man has been imprisoned by you. Release him immediately.” So please pardon me. You do not have to give any extra tax, and in the early morning you can leave with all the others.”  After that he asked two of his men, with torches, to “take this man and leave him where his men are staying.”

This is the description given by Kavi Karnapur in his drama “Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya”. Dr. Majumdar tried to pacify his readers by quoting a few lines from the above description of Kavi Karnapur.

“Whom do we understand when we say “Mahaprabhu” Lord Jagannath or Sri Chaitanya, or who is the greatest among the two, and this led to the conflict between the Gaudiya and Oriya followers.” Now, the readers are requested to justify what we get from Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya and the description given by Dr. Majumdar.

In “Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya-Drama” we do not find any suggestion of any conflict as to, “whom do we understand when we say “Mahaprabhu” Lord Jagannath or Sri Chaitanya, or who is the greatest among the two, and this led to the conflict between the Gaudiya and Oriya”. The conflict was probably between the powerful General of the king and Shivananda Sena and not between Gaudiya and Oriya. From the above description it would appear that the General was not so kind hearted. In Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya he has been described as ‘inhuman’, ‘villain’ and while the King Prataprudra was in the south, he took the liberty to do anything.

For whatever reason, his aim was to get money in the name of tax. If Shivananda had paid him the money, then he would not have been tied up with ropes. If his aim was to torture the men of Gaud then he would have tied up everybody, because everyone is liable to pay the taxes. But the General did not do this. This makes us understand that he had no intention to torture the Gaudiyas, but he only wanted to make money.

He slept while Shivanada was tied up and imprisoned. After midnight he dreamt of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and on whose order he summoned Shivananda and asked “Whose man are you?” In the dream Shri Chaitanya tells the General “My man has been imprisoned by you”, the General wanted to know the truth so he asked Shivananda “Whose man are you?” Then Shivananda replied, “I am Shri Krishna Chaitanya’s man”, then theGgeneral asked, “you are Chaitanya’s man and I am Jagannath’s man. Who is the greatest among the two?” Shivananda said, “for me Shri Krishna Chaitanya is the greatest.” On hearing this theGeneral did not oppose him. Instead he became happy and thought himself to be punishable. And so he accepted his crime and told Shivananda about the dream and asked for his forgiveness.

He untied Shivananda and said—“you don’t have to give anything; tomorrow morning you along with your friends can go from here.” Not only this, the general sent along two escorts with torches and helped Shivananda to go to his friends where they were staying.

From this account it is clear that, whatever Shivananda said about Shri Krishna Chaitanya to be the greatest, was accepted by the General. There was no argument between the General and Shivananda regarding the greatness of Shri Chaitanya and Lord Jagannath. There is no reference in Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya as to who will be referred as the “Mahaprabhu”, Lord Jagannath or Shri Chaitanya.

Anyway, now we can analyze the theory about the murder of Mahaprabhu by the priests. Firstly, how did Dr. Majumdar come to the conclusion that Shri Chaitanya went all alone to see Lord Jagannath when he was ill. Among all the biographers who have written of Mahaprabhu’s going to the Jagannath temple on Ashaad (July), shukla saptami (seventh day of the light fortnight), none have said that Prabhu was ill. None of them has written about Prabhu entering the temple all alone. Shri Lochandas has written, Prabhu entered the temple along with his devotees. Shri Achuytanand has written, Gourchandra and his followers encircled the temple premises and then entered it :  Somaganer sange deule pashile. And : Mahapratapdev raja ghenin patramantriman sange. King Prataprudra accompanied by his ministers went along with him.

Nobody has written that Prabhu entered the temple all alone. Biographers do not give any account regarding the envy of the priests of Lord Jagannath against Prabhu. Instead, we know that the priests of the Jagannath temple were devotees of Prabhu. We do not know about their envy. Prabhu was always respectful towards the sevaits and pandas of Lord Jagannath. And he behaved very cordially with them. In return, they also showed love, affection and respect for Prabhu. Whenever Prabhu used to enter the temple they used to offer him prasad and garland from the deity. Because of Prabhu there was no deviation for the priests in getting money from other visitors. Instead because of Prabhu huge numbers of pilgrims visited the temple, due to which they earned more money. In this situation how can we think that the priests were envious of Prabhu?

If, for argument’s sake we accept that the priests were against Prabhu, but that does not mean that they will murder him in Sri Jagannath’s temple! This happened on the 5th day after the Rath Yatra i.e. on Ashaad shukla saptami, seventh day after new moon. Then Lord Jagannath was in Gundicha Mandir. It happened during day time.

During Rath Yatra many people come from different parts of the country to Neelachal. Even in Gundicha temple, many thousands of people come to see Lord Jagannath. At the time of the incident the doors of the temple were open, and many people could see the Lord. And because it was open, so Prabhu could enter the main sanctum of the temple. At the time we can well imagine that many people would have gathered at Jagmohan. Prabhu did not go alone.

Biographers have written that Prabhu went inside accompanied by his devotees. According to Shri Achuytananda, Raja Prataprudra was also present along with his courtiers. The devotees, Prabhu’s companions,and King Pratap rudra along with his retinue were all present at Jagmohan. Then how is it possible for any priest to murder Prabhu inside the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple in front of so many people at Jagmohan, especially when King Pratap rudra, who was beloved of Gaudiyas, was also present?

If it is said that Prataprudra was not in Gundicha temple, then also it would not be possible for anyone to murder Prabhu. King Prataprudra used to be present at Neelachal on every Rath Yatra. At the time of Rath Yatra he had to perform certain rituals. At the time of the incidence, if he was not at Gunjabari, then he might have been at Neelachal. King Prataprudra was beloved of Gaudiyas, he was present at Neelachal and many people were present at Gunjabari, so it would be impossible for any of the priests to enter the sanctum and murder Prabhu. They had the fear of being caught and punished by death.

Moreover there is another thing to be considered. By this time, no one thought Sri Chaitanya to be an ordinary devotee. The priests also knew that he was no ordinary sanyasi. King Prataprudra and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya saw six-armed Vishnu in him, and there were other signs on his body. This everybody knew including the priests. Prabhu was beloved of all in Srikshetra. The priests of Jagannath were neither inhuman nor atheist. In such circumstances, how could it be possible for the priests to murder Prabhu in front of Lord Jagannath? The readers can draw their own conclusions.

Looking at the time and place, it would not be possible to hide the body of Prabhu. There are other opinions too, regarding Prabhu’s disappearance. Some of the biographers have written that Prabhu, in his trance might have jumped into the sea as he had done in the past. This made a few of them think that possibly he might have lost consciousness in the sea, when no one was nearby and never returned.

In this context, Dr. Majumdar in his book Shri Chaitanya Charita Upadan has written that Shri Chaitanyadev did not disappear into the sea, and this had been proven by Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen (Bharatvarsha, Falguni 1335 edition).  

Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen in “Shri Gouranger Leela Absan”, had discussed in his essay, the historical evidences of Shri Chaitanya’s disappearance (footnote given by Dr. Majumdar given in his book). Dr. Majumdar has taken reference from another book named “Jayanand Chaitanya Mangal” and given an account of the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya. Now we can discuss about this.

Very few Vaishnavas know about Jayanand or his Shri Chaitanya Mangal. In 1312, of Bengali calendar, Nagendra Nath Basu, a teacher in foreign studies and Kalidas Nath edited Jayanand’s Chaitanya Mangal which was published by Calcutta’s Bangiya Sahitya Parishad; and then it attracted the literary society. Dr. Biman Bihari Majumdar, in his book “Shri Chaitanya Charita Upadan,” has shown us that there is a vast difference in the account given by Jayanand and the other biographers.

Under the title of “The wrong news of Jayanand’s Chaitanya Mangal”, Dr. Majumdar has some strong observations. He wrote—“Murari Gupta, Kavi Karnapur, Vrindavan Das and Krishnadas have described the character of Shri Chaitanya beautifully, whereas Jayanand in his Chaitanaya Mangal did not write such things. At the end he had written that Jayanand had written whatever he thought or imagined, he did not rely on the historical evidence. According to his fancy, he has put forth distorted stories of Puranas and wrong notions about Vairagya (dispassion). For this reason, I think, although we get few descriptions of the social and political situation prevailing in the mid-sixteenth century, but incidences of the life of Shri Chaitanya are not reliable.” But Dr. Majumdar has shown great respect for the account about the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya, as found in Jayanand’s Chaitanya Mangal and  the difference of opinion of other biographers.

With reference to “Shri Chaitanya’s disappearance account” Dr. Majumdar has written: “Lochandas had given a description of the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya: Tridiyo prahor bela rabibar dine. Jagannathe lin prabhu hoile apone. On Ashaad (July) shukla saptami (seventh day), in the afternoon of Sunday Shri Chaitanya entered the deity of Lord Jagannath.”

Jayanand says:

 “Nilachale nisha-a chaitanya totagrame. Baikunth jaite nibedilo krome krome.
Ashar saptami tithi shukla angikar kori. Rath pathai-ei jabo baikunthpuri.
Ashar banchito rath bijoya nichite. Etol bajilo bam pae aachambite.
Charan bedona baro sasthir dibose.
Sei lakhye totay saran abosheshe.
Pandit Gosanjike kohilo sorbokotha.
Kali dash danto ratre chalibo sorbokotha.”

On the account give above Dr. Majumdar writes—“although there is a difference of time in both the accounts one by Jayanand and the other by Lochandas, both of them have given the exact day and dates. But the account of disappearance is not same. In Lochandas’s opinion the disappearance happened in Gunjabari, whereas Jayanand has the opinion that it happened in Tota Gopinath’s temple.

Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen has proven that Shri Chaitanya did not disappear in the sea.  If we have to believe that Shri Chaitanya died a normal death, then he was with his close friend Gadadhar Pandit at Gopinath, and that is what is possible.”

After this, about the murder of Prabhu by the priests of Lord Jagannath Dr. Majumdar has written, “I do believe in what is described by Jayanand. Prabhu was hit with a brick and suffered from fever and septic, and then died in the ashram of his close friend Gadadhar.”

Now, let us discuss about what Jayanand thought about the disappearance of Prabhu. We should know what he has written about it. Here, his Chaitanya Mangal is completely described.

Firstly, in his book the poet Jayanand has said, ”because of Shri Chaitanya all sinners were blessed. As the Yamalaya (Hell) became vacant, so Yamaraj (the god of death)  went to Lord Brahma for consultation and said:

Yamalay shunyo hoilo aar papi nai. Samaner kothay brahma hasen se thanji. Indro Sankar saneg chalila aaponi. Sakal debota meli koriya dhoroni. Nilachale nisha-a chaitanya totagrame. Baikunth jaite nibedilo krome krome. Ashar saptami tithi shukla angikar kori. Rath pathai-ei jabo baikunthpuri. Nityanand gela rathyatra nikote. Adwaitchandere somorpan kori. Sankirtan Nityanand Adyaito abhed akroop. Na bujhiya bole lok kolohoswarup. Nityanand-Adwaitere somorpan kori. Sankirtan jagyer sob tomar adhikari. Ataesh batsar ami Nilachale rohi. Sthanantore jabo ami niskpote kahi. Anek baishnab hay anek baishnabi. Sebakanuseboke byapiya prithibi. A barij adhikar pandit gosanchi. Tahar boro priyo mor  adhik nai. Sriharidas thakur rahila Nilachale. Thonta nimmaicha dilo somudrer kule. Anek sebok sange sange nityanando. Gourdeshe pathaiya dilo gourchandro. Ashare prataprudro nijoghare bosi. Krishokotha adyaito bolen hasi hasi. Nayaner jole prabhur tite koupin dor. Agni deho anyo kothay krisho pran mor. Haritoki kasthe maila Mahendra bharoti. Mukhe agniden tar tin sato joti. Haridas thakur agey korilo bijoy. Kanchoner shuklo chaturddoshi rosomoy. Ashare binchot roth bijoya nachite. Itan bajilo bam paa achombite. Adwaito chalila gourdesh. Nibhrite tahare koth kohilo bishesh. Narendrer jole sorbbo parishad sange. Chaitnya korilo jolokriya nana range. Charane bedona boro Sasthir dibose. Sei lakshe totay soyon abosheshe. Kali dosh dantoratre chalibo sorbotha. Borne dibyo malyo aila kotha haite. Koto bidyadhar nrityo kore rajpothe. Roth ano roth dake debgan. Garurdwaj rothe probhu kori arohan. Maya sarir tatha rahin je pari. Chaitnya baikunthe gela jambudwip chhari. Anek sebok sorpo donshaincha moil. Ulkapat bojraghat bhumikompo hoilo.”

According to Jayanand’s Chaitanya Mangal this is the description given in the context of Mahaprabhu’s disappearance. Dr. Majumdar has taken only five stanzas from this description and then he has given his own opinion.

From the above said description - because of Shri Chaitanya’s blessings the sinners became free and Yamalaya, the abode of Yama became vacant. So Yamaraj went to consult with Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma along with Indra and Shankar, accompanied by all other demigods came to Totagram in the night to meet with Shri Chaitanya. They all prayed to Shri Chaitanya to return to Baikunth Dham.  Shri Chaitanya agreed with them and said, “Send me your rath (chariot) on seventh day of Ashaad (July) and I will return to Baikunth. Then Prabhu revealed everything to Advaita Acharya, explaining after Him how the yajna will be done.

After this at the time of Rath Yatra when Prabhu was dancing “he was hit by a brick on his foot”. But still he along with all the men played in the water of Narendra Sarovar. Then on the sixth day the “pain in Prabhu’s foot increased”; then “because of that—what happened”? Prabhu went to Tota Gopinath and layed down. He told Gadadhar Goswami everything and at the end said—“tomorrow at 10 in the night I will go”. Next day i.e. seventh day as per Prabhu’s words the gods brought the “rath”, and it appeared with the flag of Garuda on it. And Prabhu boarded the rath and went to heaven.

Now from this account we clearly learn that before the second day of the rath, and before he the brick hit his left foot—on request of the gods at night, Mahaprabhu told them about his disappearance on the seventh day and that he then told Advaita Acharya all about it. After this on the sixth day the pain in his foot increased, he went to Gadadhar Pandit’s house, and then told him about his promise and that on the seventh day at 10 in the night he would leave for Baikunth. From this we are to understand that Prabhu’s disappearance was well planned; neither did it happen suddenly nor was it the result of any disease.

Dr. Majumdar has written, “Prabhu hit his foot on the brick and it became septic so he got fever and then he went to his close friend’s ashram and died there.” But the poet Jayanand has not written anything about the fever or sepsis. He has only written about the brick hitting his feet and on the sixth day his pain increased. If the foot is hit by a brick, it is not necessary that it will cause a wound. If the feet got hit by a brick, it can cause a wound, and if it comes in contact with some unclean thing, it may cause infection for which he may have suffered from fever. But if there is no cut, then there was no chance of a wound. 

Many times, it is seen, that although we hurt our feet with brick or something hard, but it does not cut the flesh, instead we feel the pain. Excessive walking may increase the pain. But the pain is not too much and it can be cured. It happened with Prabhu on the second day of the new moon day. On the day of the rath yatra he got hurt by the brick, and after that he played in Narendra Sarovar with his friends and walked a lot. After four days on the sixth day of new moon, the pain may have increased, but that did not lead to his death.

Anyway, if we discuss Jayanand’s account we find that all these are imaginative. Let us not prolong the discussion. Dr. Majumdar had thought that Jayanand’s account was true, and we have also tried to see it in that light. But Jayanand has not said “Prabhu died of sepsis and fever.” He, Prabhu was pleaded by the gods, and by his own will, on the night before the Rath, he made a decision that he will leave for Baikunth on the seventh day and at his own will, he left at ten in the night of the seventh day of new moon.

Jayanand has further written, “Prabhu’s “physical being was left behind”. In Dwaapar yuga Lord Krishna, before his disappearance from this world, made his family disappear, and left their “physical beings” behind. These “physical beings” fought with each other and died and Arjuna performed their last rites. Was it the same “physical being” which was left behind, after Prabhu’s going to Baikunth ?

Jayanand does not say that Prabhu transformed himself into a heavenly being and left for his heavenly abode and left his “physical body behind”. He has said, “Prabhu ascended a rath which had a flag of Garuda”. Prabhu then went to Baikunth, he has written, making us understand that Prabhu “went to heaven in his physical being”. But he had also written, “his physical being was left behind”, that means he also liked to present “the physical being” like Lord Krishna had left in Dwaapar yuga. Jayanand knew that Prabhu did not have the physical being and that he could go to Baikunth himself.

Now, the point is what happened to that physical body of Prabhu after he left it behind? Who did the last rites? Where was it done?  King Pratap Rudra and all the devotees of Gaud loved Prabhu so much, did they not erect any monument at the place of the last rites?

Actually, this ‘physical being’ was also imagined by Jayanand. Prabhu did not leave anything behind. Hence, we know from the above discussion that there was no physical being left by Prabhu. He did not die like any other mortal being and is “Bimrityu” as stated in Shruti.


Gaur premanande Hai Bol !!

Jai Sri Radhey

Jai Guru